AFTER the Harry Potter franchise effectively ruled the entirety of her adolescence, the culmination of JK Rowling's almighty juggernaut finally gave Emma Watson the room to breathe and ponder her next move.
Fans expected, if not demanded, a glittering career in lights, building upon promising potential nurtured at Hogwarts. The 22-year-old, however, came close to stepping away from the spotlight for good -- after coining a rumoured €30m playing wizard ingenue Hermione, it wasn't like she'd ever have to worry about cash flow again.
"My life has sort of been in backwards," Watson frankly explains. "There have been some parts of my development that happened in different orders. All of a sudden, I had this career at a young age but had never gone through the questioning process of 'What do I want to be when I grow up'.
"Once [Potter] ended, I wasn't sure if acting was for me and if I'd made a wrong choice of script for my next movie, that could have been it, game over. Thankfully, making The Perks of Being a Wallflower made me realise that I want to continue on in acting, it's what I want to do. It's lovely to have that certainty now."
In her first lead role, post Potter, after a starchy supporting turn in My Week With Marilyn, Watson appears alongside promising newcomer Logan Lerman in The Perks of Being a Wallflower, a charming, coming-of-age tale based on Stephen Chbosky's autobiographical account of his troubled youth.
Against an understated 80s backdrop, she plays Sam, a beguiling high school senior who takes introverted freshman Lerman under her wing, his best friend having committed suicide the year before. The young actor gives a powerfully subtle Oscar-worthy performance but Watson more than holds her own.
Clearly enjoying their screen chemistry, Watson and Lerman are together again filming Darren Aronofsky's ambitious biblical epic, Noah, alongside Russell Crowe and Anthony Hopkins. The star confesses she was thankful for a friendly face on set.
"Knowing you're making an Aronofsky movie and Russell Crowe is there, and Anthony Hopkins is walking around, I really felt the gravity of the production. So to have Logan there was just the best, I could share how intimidated I was.
"I'd be saying, 'Are you really nervous?' and he's like, 'Yes, I'm terrified' and to have that support, and continuity as well, is lovely. Sometimes you're meeting new people and landing in new places for films and it can all be a little disorientating and scary."
Recently, Emma was attached to Rupert Everett's mooted Oscar Wilde biopic The Happy Prince, which was reported to be starting filming on Dublin's streets at the end of the year.
Sadly, it seems the grapevine got it wrong this time. "I'm attached to many strange projects that I have no idea about," Watson giggles, "but should an offer come up, I'm an Oscar Wilde fanatic, so I'd love that. I collect so many of his quotes. He said many wise, wise things."
Potter pal Daniel Radcliffe is currently shooting new flick The F Word in the city, and was snapped at a Dundrum house party with the Dublin Minor football team, following their All Ireland win.
"I saw something about that online the other day; looks like he's having a great time. Definitely have to join him [in Dublin] when I get the chance," said Emma.
And what of a Potter reunion down the line? Rowling, who just released her first contemporary effort, The Casual Vacancy, has hinted there may be life in the bespectacled one yet.
Would Emma return to Hermione? "I love Hermione, it's not a case that I'm happy to get away from her. She'll always be a part of me and it could be fun to see what happens with her in the future."
The Perks of Being a Wallflower is in cinemas now